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Friday, June 06, 2008

Humpty Dumpty Revisited

“When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.” --Through the Looking-Glass

Humpty-Dumptification of language is so commonplace as to elicit an "Oh come ON...that's just the way people talk.". It is the less-than-literate cousin to Orwell's doublespeak. On an assembly line job years ago, I used the word "invaluable" (yeah, I know...). There was some misunderstanding, so we got out the dictionary, as they did not believe that I was the most reliable one at hand, and found it to mean "valuable beyond estimation". The dissenters said that where they came from, "invaluable" meant "worthless". These same people burn down trailers when they throw a liquid marked "inflammable" on a kitchen grease fire to put it out.

"Idolatry" is a fun one. Writers of Popular Christian Books pen multiplied volumes on how "putting ANYTHING before God is idolatry."

No. Worshiping an inanimate object AS God is idolatry. "Well...what about people who are all addicted to American IDOL and don't go to church when it's on...?!?"

They're just stupid.

The upshot is, there is a level of authority to correct language. A major frustration I continue to have is the people who pull Things Religious from their nethers and foist them upon the Masses as Truth. Some months back, I issued a challenge for anyone to PROVE Scripturally that one must "Pray the Sinners Prayer and ask Jesus into your heart" in order to become a Christian. I offered a cash prize.

There have been NO takers.

Now, this could appear to be an "angels on the head of a pin" issue to some, but let me ask this: If I were to say to you : "I have a gift of a million dollars for you, because I love you and want you to be happy. I need for you to come to my house and pick it up.", would you get the moolah if you stayed home watching American Gladiator ?

Would the money be any less a gracious gift because I require you to come get it?

The Author of our faith instructed Peter, and when he was asked how to be rescued by the panicky Jews on Pentecost, Peter said "Repent. Be baptised to have your sins remitted. You will receive the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)

No prayer. Just an acknowledgment that Jesus is Lord (Repentance demonstrates this), and then obedience to that Lord (be baptised for the remission of sins).God then resuscitates you with the Holy Spirit.

Faith in Jesus as Lord: Puts to death the Old Man of Sin, nailing him to the cross.

Baptism: Buries the Old Man (see Romans 6) and you are raised from that death into new life.

Receiving the Holy Spirit: Divine CPR.

It is simple. It is sensible. It is what the Bible teaches. Every popular radio preacher and Huckstervangelist teaches something else. Let me encourage you to challenge EVERYONE who teaches the "Sinners Prayer / ask JEEEEE-zusss into your heart" to prove to you Biblically (and contextually) that it is true.

You preachers and teachers: Be careful, guys. Remember what happened to Mr. Dumpty.

And once again: I offer $200.00 (Two hundred dollars) to the first person to prove the doctrine to be Biblically authorized.


Cunning Dove said...

I have misplaced my 4 Spiritual Laws pamplet... perhaps there is something in there that I missed. I shall have to take up your challange.

However, I fear, Aardvark, that the "pray the prayer" ideology comes from trying to make the gospel - "simple enough for everyone to get it." Yet another example of our "sound bite culture."

I fear that I could speak to this topic for quite some time, so I shall sum up my point as quickly as possible.

Since our modern culture lacks the ability to understand "fielty" (sp?) and "allegiance" in the way that the people in the 1st century, or even the Middle Ages, would have understood it, some of the language used in the bible is difficult to grasp. Rather than taking the time to fully understand what was going on, the ideology of "praying the prayer" was born.

It is simple for "the masses" to understand, and checks off the list of things good Christians should do. ( & yes, I had someone tell me that I was not a good Christian b/c I had not personally led anyone to "pray the prayer.") So, it has flooded the Christian mindset and flowed across religions. I have often wondered if it was not also something that came from America's Strong Anti-Catholic sentiment.

These are just some of the thoughts I have in a short time. Perhaps more will follow later.

The Aardvark said...

Fealty. Yes. There is a mindset that could be termed as "accepting Jesus as your Lord and Personal Butler". It's hard to have allegiance to a servant, and many tend to look at Jesus that way, giving Him their never-ending shopping list.

Ah, the matter of "lists".
What is a matter of pride-numbing grace, is fashioned by man into a list of things to do to make God happy with us. Things WE can do.

So why did Jesus have to die? (I'm thinking aloud, not "at" you)

As to making the Gospel "simple enough for everyone to get it" that is at variance with Jesus' own tactics. He used parables precisely so NOT everyone would get it.

The Lord knoweth them that are His.
They get it. The others don't. That's the dividing line.

Never really looked at it that way before.

I gotta get some sleep.

David The Good said...

I love the interchange Alice had with Humpty.

Fantastically funny.

And your post is excellent. I just quoted and linked to you on Dave's Island.

Cunning Dove said...

Yup, I'm back, and I've been thinking some more about what I said regarding "fealty" and "allegiance" the other day.

from dictionary.com (go down the page to the older definitions of the word.)
1. The tie or obligation, implied or expressed, which a subject owes to his sovereign or government; the duty of fidelity to one's king, government, or state.

1. History/Historical.
a. fidelity to a lord.
b. the obligation or the engagement to be faithful to a lord, usually sworn to by a vassal.

I learned in my Middle Ages History Classes in college, that a pledge of fealty or allegiance to a king, barron, or lord was not just a "monetary" or "diplomatic" thing that they did. It has a much deeper meaning. It is a commitment of your life to the service of your lord. And it is accepted by the lord as a commitment to help provide for you & to care for you.

It is a psychological, physical and even spiritual commitment on the part of both the lord & the vassal.

But perhaps this is off topic, and should be discussed elsewhere?